Primitive elvish


root. meet, come up against; go (away), meet, come up against; go, [ᴹ√] proceed

A root meaning “go, proceed” appearing as one of the many etymologies of Q. vanwa “gone, departed”. It may have been a partial restoration of the (rejected) meaning of the root ᴹ√AB “go away, depart” from The Etymologies of the 1930s, a root that later was altered in that document to mean “refuse, deny, say no” (Ety/AB). It may also have been intended as a replacement for ᴹ√WAN “depart, go away, disappear, vanish”, also from The Etymologies and the basis for ᴹQ. vanwa in the 1930s.

In the published corpus, the first clear mention of this root is in a discussion of the Quenya future suffix -(u)va from the late 1940s where it was given as √BĀ, BANA “go, proceed” with Q. vanwa “gone, over” as one of its derivatives (PE22/97). It appeared again in a discussion of the Sindarin greeting mae govannen “well met” from the late 1950s, where Tolkien hypothesized that the verb “meet” might be go- “together” + ban- “go” or “meet”, which he again connected to Q. vanwa “gone” (PE17/16). Phonetic complications prompted Tolkien to coin a new verb covad- “assemble, gather together” from a root √KOB, but he was unwilling to commit at this time to the new verb because of the obvious similarity of govannen to √BAN “go” (PE17/16-17).

However, in 1959 when he was overhauling the Eldarin system of negation, it seems Tolkien finally rejected √BA(N) “go” because of the conflict with √BĀ/ABA “refuse”, and he transferred the sense “go” to the root √MEN (PE17/143). In etymological notes contemporaneous with the Quendi and Eldar essay of 1959-60, Tolkien restored √KOB “gather” (PE17/150) though he seems to have eventually settled on the form √KOM for this root along with a restored verb S. covad- “bring together, make meet” (PE17/157-158). Q. vanwa “gone” was also transferred to √WĀ/AWA by the time of the Quendi and Eldar essay (WJ/366). Meanwhile, the Quenya future had been transferred from √BA to the root √UB in the early 1950s (PE22/132).

This left no remaining functions for √BA(N) “go”, and there is no further sign of it starting in the 1960s.


  • BA(N)MEN “go” ✧ PE17/143
  • ba(n)men “go” ✧ VT42/32


  • Q. vanwa “gone, lost, departed, vanished, past, over, no longer to be had, passed away, dead, gone, lost, departed, vanished, past, over, no longer to be had, passed away, dead, [ᴹQ.] gone for good; [ᴱQ.] on the road” ✧ PE17/016
  • S. ban- “?to go” ✧ PE17/016


  • ABA/BA ✧ PE17/016 (ABA/BA)
  • BAN ✧ PE17/016; PE17/150
  • ba(n) ✧ VT42/32 (ba(n))
Primitive elvish [PE17/016; PE17/143; PE17/149; PE17/150; VT42/32] Group: Eldamo. Published by


root. go, proceed, go, proceed, [ᴹ√] fare, travel

This root appeared in The Etymologies (Ety/LED) and in some later writings (PE17/51, 139) with the basic sense “go”. In the Quendi and Eldar essay from 1959-60, Tolkien decided that √LED was a Quenya-only variant of the original root √DEL (WJ/360, 363). Elsewhere, Tolkien said that √LED was “not much used in Sindarin except in compounds with ✶et ‘out’ as edlen(n)” (PE17/51). Its Sindarin derivative S. lembas “way bread” was reassigned to √LEN (PE17/60). See √DEL and √LEN for further discussion.


  • etlendā “exiled” ✧ PE17/051
  • ledmē “leaving, departure” ✧ PE17/051
    • Q. lenwë “leaving, departure” ✧ PE17/051
  • lednē ✧ PE17/051
  • ledya- ✧ WJ/363
    • Q. lelya- “to go, proceed (in any direction), travel”
  • ᴺQ. etelenda “exiled”
  • ᴺQ. etelerro “exile”
  • Q. lenna- “to come, to come; [ᴹQ.] to go, depart” ✧ PE17/139
  • Q. lenda- “to go free”
  • ᴺQ. lendë “journey”
  • S. glenna- “*to travel”
  • ᴺS. lîdh “journey”

Element in

  • le(n)dembassē “bread taken on leaving home (for a long journey)” ✧ PE17/052
  • S. lembas “waybread, journey-bread” ✧ PE17/051


  • led- ✧ WJ/363
Primitive elvish [PE17/051; PE17/052; PE17/060; PE17/139; PE17/159; WJ/363] Group: Eldamo. Published by